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Musk Apology Underscores Increasingly Erratic Behavior

"Do you think I'm insane?"

by on Jul.18, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has come under increasing fire for comments made in recent months.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has issued an apology for calling one of the divers involved in the rescue of a soccer team caught in a Thai cave a “pedo,” shorthand for pedophile.

The overnight tweet marked one of the rare times the South African-born executive has retreated from what have become increasingly erratic and aggressive comments that, in recent months, have taken aim at journalists, Wall Street analysts, regulators, and even the victim in a fatal crash involving one of Tesla’s battery-electric vehicles.

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Musk, much like President Donald Trump, has become a regular user of Twitter, developing a broad audience and a loyal fan base for himself and for his company. But as with the president, some of Musk’s tweets have begun raising eyebrows and this week’s attack on diver Vernon Unsworth caused collateral damage to Tesla’s stock which tumbled when Unsworth threatened to sue the eccentric billionaire.

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Trump Tariffs Could Complicate PSA’s U.S. Market Return

“I could launch in Canada,” says PSA’s North American CEO.

by on Jul.17, 2018

While new Peugeot models, such as this 3008 crossover, would work for North America, PSA will develop unique U.S. products.

On Thursday, the U.S. Commerce Dept. will hold hearings in Washington, D.C. to decide if, as President Donald Trump has suggested, imported automobiles pose a threat to national security. If so, the White House could follow up with new tariffs of up to 25% on those vehicles.

That’s on top of the previously enacted tariffs on steel and aluminum that have already begun to drive up production costs for domestic manufacturers. And the industry’s response has been fierce in its opposition to the Trump administration’s proposal.

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But as much as the potential tariff hike has complicated matters for existing manufacturers, it is raising even more challenges for potential new entrants to the U.S. market, including PSA, the French parent of the Peugeot, Citroen, Opel and Vauxhall brands, which is in the midst of developing a strategy to return to North America for the first time in more than a quarter century. (more…)

VW Diesel Owners in Settlement Cruising Up to Deadline

Car owners could miss out on more than $10K.

by on Jul.17, 2018

VW owners impacted by the diesel scandal are running up against a deadline to get their cash.

The clock is ticking on Volkswagen owners who are eligible to receive compensation for their vehicles as a result of the diesel cheat scandal from 2015.

The owners of diesels with the cheat were essentially divided by engine size. The owners of 2.0-liter diesels were part of the first settlement reached between the automaker and the U.S. government.

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Those vehicles account for about 95% of those owners qualify for the program since the deal was approved by a federal judge in October 2016, USA Today reported. In all, its nearly 475,000 cars that were eligible for that deal, which expires Sept. 1. (more…)

Ford, Takata Reach $299M Airbag Settlement

Deal helps vehicle owners recoup costs.

by on Jul.17, 2018

Ford and Takata reached a $299.1 million settlement to help offset the costs of owners with faulty airbag inflators in their cars.

Ford Motor Co. and Takata agreed to a $299.1 million settlement to allow the automaker to cover economic damages tied to the supplier’s faulty inflators. The deal covers about 6 million Ford vehicles with the inflators.

Takata produced airbag inflators that became unstable over time, inflating with too much force, spewing metal and plastic into the vehicle cabin. To date, 23 deaths and nearly 300 injuries have occurred as a result of the inflators.

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The terms of the deal, which is described as an economic loss settlement, were revealed in court documents filed in a federal court in Miami, according to Reuters. (more…)

Electric Polestar 2 “Five-Door Coupe” Will Deliver 350 miles Range, 400+ HP

All-electric Polestar 3 SUV already in the works.

by on Jul.17, 2018

The Volvo 40.2 Concept hints at what's coming with Polestar's first all-electric vehicle.

Volvo’s performance electric brand is getting ready to charge into the market with two additional models over the next two years, starting with the all-electric Polestar 2 which, a senior official claims, will deliver range of up to 350 miles per charge.

And, in keeping with the mandate of the brand – which traces its roots back to the track – the Polestar 2 “five-door coupe” will deliver around 405 horsepower, according to the brand’s Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Goodman. That figure might actually underplay the potential performance of the all-electric offering, as battery-electric vehicles can deliver incredible off-the-line performance because they punch out maximum torque the moment their motors start spinning.

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The Polestar 2 is expected to share the same underlying Compact Modular Architecture, or CMA, as the new Volvo 40-Series line-up. That was an obvious choice considering Volvo itself is planning to offer electrified versions of all future models and the CMA, its newest platform, was designed specifically to allow mounting a large battery pack under the load floor.

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Mini Shows Off Battery-Electric Concept at Goodwood

Concept is the base for the new Mini EV coming fall of 2019.

by on Jul.17, 2018

Mini's Electric Concept was on display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

During England’s annual Goodwood Festival of Speed, Mini presented the Mini Electric Concept, which offers an early look at both of Mini’s first fully electric model scheduled for release in 2019.

The first fully electric model from the history-rich British brand builds on the Mini brand’s DNA that has made the city its natural habitat and urban mobility a large part of its appeal.

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The new model fits the Mini template by turning electric mobility into an emotionally engaging experience brimming with driving fun, style and individuality.  (more…)

First Drive: Genesis G70

The Koreans finally deliver a real threat to Munich's vaunted sport compact.

by on Jul.16, 2018

Genesis tapped BMW's former M chief to help build some impressive dynamics into the G70.

Hard to believe but it’s been a full decade since Hyundai introduced what was then its most expensive and lavishly equipped model, the Genesis sedan going on to become the North American Car of the Year, among the many awards it collected. The four-door model also had a sort of Mini Me, the Genesis Coupe essentially being positioned as the Korean carmaker’s answer to the ever-popular BMW 3-Series.

Like so many other 3-Series wannabes, the Genesis Coupe wasn’t up to dethroning the king-of-the-sport-compact-hill, but it’s clear that Hyundai has kept that goal in mind and, a decade later, it’s come about as close to anyone to calling BMW’s bluff.

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The original Genesis siblings are gone. Indeed, the name itself has been repurposed for Hyundai’s new luxury brand. A couple months from now, the high-line division will get its third new entry since being spun off two years ago, and the 2019 Genesis G70 does a better job of justifying the Genesis brand’s existing than the two models that came before it, the midsize G80 and premium luxury G80. It also presents a surprisingly solid alternative to the 3-Series, as well as other compact European contenders like the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

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Tesla CEO Musk Lashes Out at British Diver in Latest Round of Odd Behavior

Twice calls diver a "pedo," slang for pedophile.

by on Jul.16, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk called one of the divers that found the Thai boys soccer team trapped in a cave a pedophile.

The wild ride that has been Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk’s behavior took another odd turn over the weekend as he got into a twitter fight with one of the divers who helped rescue the Thai boys soccer team from a flooded cave last week.

Musk called one of the British divers who discovered the boys a “pedo,” slang for pedophile, not once, but twice in a series of angry tweets after the diver dismissed his interest in trying to help save the boys with a small submarine as a publicity stunt.

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“He can stick his submarine where it hurts,” Unsworth told CNN. (more…)

Detroit Automakers Could Come Out Losers Even if Trump Scuttles Import Tariffs

One alternative could open U.S. up to flood of foreign-made pickups.

by on Jul.16, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, proposed eliminating all tariffs between trading partners.

The auto industry has been actively trying to get President Donald Trump to back off his threat to impose a 25% tariff on imported automobiles, even Detroit-based carmakers warning that such a move could wind up raising prices, slowing sales, reducing U.S. exports and hurting American jobs.

Ironically, one of the likely alternatives to new tariffs could be great news for American consumers – but a potential disaster for Detroit’s Big Three, opening them up to a new wave of competition in the most profitable segment of the U.S. automotive market.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others, has raised the prospect of effectively eliminating automotive tariffs entirely, while others are saying they should be a uniform figure shared among all major trading partners. That approach could force the U.S. to eliminate the so-called “chicken tax,” the relic of an old, Euro-American trade dispute that has effectively closed off the American pickup truck market for the past half-century. (more…)

GAC Plowing $4.4M into New Detroit-Area R&D Facility

Chinese automaker expects to sell vehicles in U.S. by 2020.

by on Jul.16, 2018

GAC Motor Chairman Feng Xingya said the company will sell SUVs in fourth quarter of 2019.

China’s Guangzhou Automobile Group in China is taking another step forward in its efforts to become the first Chinese automaker to engage in large scale sales in the U.S. with a new $4.4 million R&D facility in metro Detroit.

During the North American International Auto Show last January, the automaker announced its plans to bring vehicles to the U.S., but acknowledged it needed to make some changes to those vehicles to meet U.S. regulations.

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This new research facility in Farmington Hills, Michigan, helps with that process. The company has just begun preparing the building and filling job openings. The new site is expected to create 62 jobs, according to the company. (more…)